Hiring managers and good professional candidates often get dozens of messages and phone calls from recruiters each day, many of which fall flat.
Why do so many recruitment inquiries fail to achieve the desired response?
With a rather low barrier to entry, many employees in the staffing industry tactlessly push their service onto prospective clients without adding meaningful value.
Let’s take a closer look at how those interactions transpire through a lazy recruitment strategy we’ll call the “flood approach”:
The flood recruitment approach
- Less advanced recruiters (LARs) get so excited about picking up a new job that they rush off a client call to start sourcing candidates who could lead to a placement.
- Assuming they’ll find an ideal candidate with a few buzzwords, LARs input generic search terms into a candidate aggregator and find a large volume of candidates who feature those buzzwords anywhere on their resume.
- Eager to get things done as quickly as possible (faster placements = faster commissions), they flood hiring managers with dozens of these poorly sourced candidates for evaluation.
- As a result, clients find themselves wasting time checking out a mixed bag of candidates they could have found just as easily by spending 20 minutes in front of the same candidate-aggregating tools.
- Because the process has not been effectively expedited, hiring managers realize the partnership is useless. As a consequence, the candidates are also shafted because the hiring manager didn’t have time to pick out the gems from a pile of otherwise inappropriate resumes.
- Having been burned, those clients and candidates start ignoring future recruitment messages to avoid wasted time, energy and frustration.
Let’s dissect why this went so wrong. While many human capital specialists can become trusted marketplace consultants, the baseline value add in the recruitment business is optimizing time efficiency.
Consequently, recruiters would be well-advised to master an approach to the craft that places small, elite handfuls of qualified candidate leads in front of hiring authorities rather than the fast, sloppy flooding technique.
And that takes agility.
The agile recruitment approach
“Agile software development” is a top-trending technique in Information Technology that promotes continuous planning, testing and integration.
This approach is exactly what the recruitment space needs to move away from the flood methodology.
With that in mind, let’s adapt principles from the agile manifesto to the staffing industry and analyze why this approach is so valuable:
1. In agile development, “business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.”
In agile recruitment, there must be consistent communication between hiring managers, recruiters and candidates.
This principle explains why a five-minute job order call yielding a generic laundry list of requirements doesn’t cut it. Rather, recruiters need to develop a clear picture of an ideal candidate by asking a lot of detailed questions, listening carefully to the answers and using that information to guide strategy.
With that foundation in place, recruiters will not only understand technical skills requirements but also the hiring firm’s interview process and culture—both important factors that dictate the appropriate candidate pool and tools for preparation.
Further, recruiters also need to spend quality time with candidates (preferably over the phone and face-to-face) to be sure their experience, values, salary expectations and interpersonal skills align with client needs.
And while flooding clients with dozens of resumes isn’t helpful, clients do still want some choices. Consequently, recruiters should ensure they’re getting continuous feedback on candidate performance to not only keep candidates informed but also ensure their sourcing approach evolves as more information emerges later in the process.
In short, until there is a signed offer letter and the candidate is set to start, communication between everyone involved should be continuous.
2. In agile development, recruiters “welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.”
In agile recruitment, it’s critical to adapt to changing client requirements.
In recruitment, things change all the time. Take money, for example. Oftentimes, hiring firms will realize their budget restricts the original salary for an open position, drastically altering the candidate pool.
Similarly, hiring managers may realize, after seeing a handful of candidates, that the ideal hire needs to come from a specific industry.
Countless other factors might change as the process progresses, and recruiters who aren’t prepared to roll with the punches as requirements shift risk becoming irrelevant additions to the hiring equation.
3. In agile development, “simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential.”
After a recruiter has digested all the relevant information and iterated as necessary, bearing the job spec is interesting and pays according to market standards, the ideal next step is to present hiring managers with between four and eight pre-qualified candidates who could all be good additions to the client’s team.
In short, internal hiring managers are capable of posting ads, sourcing on LinkedIn, getting referrals and screening candidates—they just might not have time to do so efficiently.
Consequently, when a recruiter can help hiring managers simplify their lives by doing the legwork properly, the partnership has become mutually beneficial.
One of the biggest complaints in the staffing world is that recruiters are selfish, that they ignore everyone else’s needs while doing whatever is necessary to benefit themselves.
Agile recruitment instead puts the focus on what benefits clients and candidates. When the focus is shifted off what’s easy for a recruiter to what’s valuable for the client, positive outcomes become sustainable.
Sure, the flood approach may yield the perfect candidate early in a generic search, but the likelihood of repeating success that way is highly unlikely.
By contrast, agile recruitment yields consistent results with recruiters plugged into the specifics, simplifying the complex and helping complimentary professionals find one another.
If this approach were standardized, the rate of successful connections would explode.
Ben Weiss is the digital marketing strategist for Infusive Solutions, one of the premier IT staffing firms in New York City specializing in placing Microsoft-centric technical professionals and helping clients fill mission-critical IT seats with great speed and precision. Follow him on Twitter @InfusiveInc or at Facebook.com/InfusiveInc.